Nigerian churches under spotlight
LAGOS - Critics of evangelist TB Joshua’s church say people killed in a stampede in Ghana were sacrifices.
Four people were crushed to death and 30 were injured when thousands of worshipers pushed to be anointed with holy water at prophet TB Joshua’s church on Sunday.
The deadly incident has raised questions regarding the growth of Pentecostal churches in West Africa.
Some said the situation is spiraling out of control as majority of churches mainly focus on wealth and prosperity and not saving souls.
“'There’s still a lot going on in our churches that are extra biblical vices that are employed by men to attract crowds to themselves,” said Prophetic-Apostolic Pastor Tunde Bakare.
“Of course Satan can pastor a church because he can transform himself into an angel of light. Maybe they need prison maybe they need to be locked up for them to know God has a way of throwing Jonah into the sea,” said Bakare.
On a typical Sunday, Pentecostal churches in Nigeria are filled to capacity.
Some services accommodate up to 50,000 people.
Some analysts believe Nigerians are not happy about the state of their country and therefore turn to God for solace.
“People are frustrated. People are hopeless, disenchanted in terms of expectations from the government so they have to look up to something,” said Political commentator Bayo Olupohunda.
“They had to go to church to listen to the pastor preaching to them that life can be better, so the pastor will feed on that greed of our people. Preaching says you can make it, you can get rich easily and you can be who want to be without working hard,” said Olupohunda.
With an estimated net worth $235 million, Nigeria’s top five richest pastors have shown that the gospel of prosperity is truly working in their lives.
But many say these men of God are not sincere, because most of their members live in abject poverty and can barely afford a meal a day.